Chinese tracking ship docks at Sri Lankan port; Beijing says third party should not ‘obstruct’ cooperation

Updated on Aug 16, 2022 06:00 PM IST

The ship, which the Chinese calls ‘a backbone in China’s maritime tracking and measuring network’ will be berthed at the port for several days, starting today for replenishments

China’s research and survey vessel, the Yuan Wang 5, docked at Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on Tuesday. (AFP)
China’s research and survey vessel, the Yuan Wang 5, docked at Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on Tuesday. (AFP)

BEIJING: China on Tuesday said the docking of a Chinese missile and spacecraft tracking ship in the southern Sri Lankan port of Hambantota for replenishment will not affect the security interests of any country and should not be “obstructed” by a third party, in an apparent reference to India.

The Yuan Wang-5, which China calls a scientific research vessel, docked in the China-built Hambantota port on Tuesday after Colombo allowed it to berth though it had asked Beijing last week to defer the ship’s arrival following India’s security concerns.

The ship, which the Chinese calls “a backbone in China’s maritime tracking and measuring network” will be berthed at the port for several days, starting today for replenishments.

The docking of the ship comes a day after India handed over a Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft to the Sri Lanka Navy.

“At noon of August 16th Beijing time, with the active cooperation from the Sri Lankan side, China’s research vessel Yuan Wang-5 successfully berthed at Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson, Wang Wenbin said.

The Chinese ambassador to Sri Lanka Ambassador Qi Zhenhong presided over the welcoming ceremony at the port, which was attended by a member of parliament as the representative of the Sri Lankan president.

“I want to stress again that the marine scientific research activities of the Yuan Wang-5 ship are consistent with international law and international common practice. They do not affect the security and the economic interests of any country and should not be obstructed by any third party,” Wang said without taking India’s name.

Wang then reiterated the point.

“I want to reiterate one point: The scientific research mission of Y5 is consistent with international law and customary international practice. It does not affect the security and economic interests of any third party,” he said.

Wang pointed out that China and Sri Lanka are traditional friendly neighbours, and the two countries are committed to all-round and mutually beneficial and friendly cooperation in various areas. “For years, the two countries have maintained close cooperation in marine scientific research. China is ready to work with the Sri Lankan side to consolidate political mutual trust, deepen win-win cooperation and promote the sound and steady development of bilateral relations,” the spokesperson said.

“As to the cooperation between China and Sri Lanka, as we have pointed out many times, we are close neighbours. We are friendly neighbours,” he said.

“We feel deeply for the economic and social difficulties that the Sri Lankan side is currently facing. For quite some time, we have been providing active support to Sri Lanka for it to overcome the difficulties. That is what we did and what we will continue to do,” Wang added.

Yuan Wang-5 is China’s homegrown third-generation spacecraft tracking ship and a “backbone” in China’s maritime tracking and measuring network.

“Yuan Wang-5 has by far sailed safely over 570,000 nautical miles and completed more than 80 tasks at sea, including tracking the Shenzhou spacecraft, the Chang’e lunar probes, BeiDou satellites and Mars probe Tianwen with a 100% success rate,” official military website, eng.chinamil.com.cn, reported in March.

“The ship had spent 256 days accumulatively at sea last year, setting a historical high among the Yuan Wang vessels in terms of the number of missions performed, the accumulated mileage, and the average number of days at sea per ship.”

Get Latest World News along with Latest News from Indiaat Hindustan Times.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sutirtho Patranobis has been in Beijing since 2012, as Hindustan Times’ China correspondent. He was previously posted in Colombo, Sri Lanka, where he covered the final phase of the civil war and its aftermath. Patranobis covered several beats including health and national politics in Delhi before being posted abroad.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
My Offers
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Tuesday, September 27, 2022
Start 15 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Register Free and get Exciting Deals